5 Tips on Praying With Children

We’d just finished our prayer circle in the large group portion of Sunday school when a six-year-old came in late. Her red hair in braids, she was dressed like a little cowgirl, from her pink cowboy hat to her pointy boots. Planting herself in the doorway, her fisted hands on her hips, she looked me right in the eye and announced, “I have something we need to pray about.”

I dismissed the other children to their small group classes and invited the latecomer to stay behind so we could pray together. Her prayer request? Her cats weren’t getting along and one cat had claws and the other didn’t. It wasn’t fair. “We need to pray they’ll get along so the one with claws doesn’t hurt the other one.”

One of the great privileges of ministering to children is praying with them. Though their requests may sometimes seem unimportant, or even amusing to us, to a child they’re every bit as serious as an adult looking for work. Here are five things I’ve learned about praying with children.

1. Respect their prayer requests. Never laugh or even smile at a prayer request unless the child does first. If it’s important to a child, it’s important to God.

2. Get eye to eye with the child as you listen to his prayer concerns. That Sunday, I sat on a chair as the child stood before me so we’d be the same height. This shows you’re really listening to what they have to say. Remember, you’re a reflection of God to them. The way you listen reflects how God listens.

3. Draw them close when you pray. Hold their hands, or snuggle them in your lap. (If you’re in children’s ministry, check with your organization regarding what is acceptable physical touch.) This wraps them in God’s love as well as your own.

4. Let them pray out loud if they’re comfortable doing so, or if not, pray for them. Never force a child to pray aloud if they don’t want to.

5. Follow up with them later to see how God is working in the situation. Maybe He’s answered the prayer the way they’d hoped. Maybe things have worsened. Or they may still be waiting for an answer. Regardless, remind them God always works things out for their best, even if it’s not what we’d hoped for (Romans 8:28).

Praying with children is a remarkable honor and one that I never take lightly. Do it with reverence and great joy!

What have been your experiences in praying with children? Any other suggestions you can give? 

Snuggles’ Japanese Alps Adventures by Tim Ostermeyer

TitleSnuggle’s Japanese Alps Adventures

Author: Tim Ostermeyer

ISBN: 978-0-9794228-7-4

Age: 4-12  /  SRP:  $18.95

:) :) :) :) :)

The photography in Snuggles’ Japanese Alps Adventures is awesome. You feel like you know these Japanese snow monkeys personally by the time you have finished reading the book. The story is about the challenge of traveling from the cooler summer habitat through the Japanese Alps to the hot springs where they can stay warm through the bitter cold winter months. Throughout the book Tim Ostermeyer offers Bible scriptures and appropriate life lessons for children. He also shares a lot of information about these snow monkeys as well as the Japanese Alps.

What I like about the book: The pictures will draw young and old into the book. They are awesome. The life lessons are real for children and even older readers will gain from them as well as the inspirational scriptures.

What I dislike about the book: Nothing. On the first read I worried that children may not follow the theme of the story very well, but on the second read through I didn’t get that feeling. The children will love the pictures and will want to hear the story again and again. They will pick up on different parts of the story each time through. This is genius storytelling.

You can order Snuggles’ Japanese Alps Adventures and other books by Tim Ostermeyer on the Barnes & Nobles website or on his author website.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookCrash.com book review program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Bad Haircut

Yesterday I got what I would consider a bad haircut. It’s not that it looks awful – it’s just that it’s way shorter than I had hoped. And when you have curly hair, short is not always a good thing.

Let me say that I am not one who is all that particular about my looks. I rarely wear make-up. Don’t color my hair or change its style (unless by accident!!) And am not into fashion. The bulk of my wardrobe consists of clothes that my mother or sister have donated to my cause.

Having said this, you wouldn’t think that the new hair-do would phase me too much. But it has. In fact, every time I see my “new self” in the mirror, it sends me on a downward thought spiral. Sure, I know that it will grow back, but right now that is not much consolation. And besides, it only lasts until I have to go by the mirror again, which happens every time I use the bathroom or walk into my bedroom (which right now feels like too many times in my book!)

Anyway, this whole incident has left me thinking about how much stock we put in our physical appearances – and how much control it can wield over our mental and emotional state, at times without our even realizing it. For example, how many different times did you look in a mirror today? Think about it. Do you have one over the sink in your bathroom? Over the dresser in your bedroom? Is there a full-length one behind your closet door? Maybe you even have one in the entry way as I’ve noticed in many people’s homes. If you own a car, there’s a good chance you caught a glimpse of yourself in the rear-view mirror or perhaps pulled down the visor and checked yourself out there. And many women carry a pocket mirror in their purses. So honestly, how many times did you look at and/or concern yourself with your physical appearance today? And if you didn’t like what you saw, how did it affect your attitude and outlook for the rest of the day?

I probably wouldn’t think too much of our “rampant” use of mirrors if it weren’t for the fact that during the four weeks that I spent in Ghana earlier this year, rarely did I ever see myself in a mirror. At the children’s home where I stayed there was no mirror in my bedroom or the bathroom either. I believe that the children had some small, hand-held mirrors; but I’m not really sure. For me, if I wanted to check my appearance, I actually had to use my camera to take a picture of myself.

I think the women in Ghana are for the most part, every bit as concerned with their appearances as we are in the US, and I’m sure they use mirrors. But to me, those four weeks were liberating! Not having to look at myself all the time, not being reminded of the bags under my eyes when I don’t have on concealer, or the grey hairs that are starting to come in (well, until the children started pulling them out that is!), or the few extra pounds it would be nice to shed, or the numerous other things I could find to dislike if I looked long enough. I’m sure I wasn’t looking my very best, but the children I spent time with didn’t seem to mind in the least, and I felt free!

In 2011, it is estimated that Americans spent over $10 billion on cosmetic surgery. Much more was spent on cosmetics in general. We live in a culture that is obsessed with outward appearances, and to many, it is a form of slavery. People are willing to go under the knife, undertaking risky procedures to change their appearance, because they believe it will make them happier or more fulfilled. But I have my doubts. In fact, perhaps when we are most unhappy with our outer appearance, it’s really a reflection of how we are feeling about our inner “appearance.”

I think it’s easier to “fix” ourselves on the outside rather than do the work that is necessary to change ourselves on the inside. In James 1:22-25, James talks about the Bible as being a mirror that allows us to see ourselves for who we really are. He also gives us two options for how we can respond to what we see. We can either notice what a mess we are and walk away without making any changes (something most of us would never do with our physical person!) Or we can “fix up” our inner person until the reflection in the “mirror” is more pleasing.

I believe that all women want to feel beautiful. But it’s the beauty on the inside that matters the most – especially to God. It’s this type of beauty, not the outer kind, that will bring about His kingdom.

So the next time you’re feeling overly concerned, frustrated or disappointed with your outer appearance, stop and take a moment to ask how concerned you are with your inner person. Then step away from your physical mirror and take a look into the spiritual one – God’s Word. There you will find all of the “beauty treatments” that you need, and it won’t cost you a thing – except the time and effort to put it into practice.

And if my hunch is correct, the more beautiful you feel on the inside, the more beautiful you will feel on the outside. For you will understand that God’s standard of beauty is very different from what you see on the magazine covers and in the commercials. And His standard is the only one worth emulating, the only one that brings true freedom.

This Is the Day

I’m guessing you didn’t know that today is Best Friends Day. And also National Jelly-Filled Doughnut Day.

Or that in New York City, commercial ice cream was manufactured for the first time on this day in 1786.

I wouldn’t have known either, except that I read it in a great book for middle grades. (I DO like children’s books, yes I do!) The book is 365 Trivia Twist Devotions: An Almanac of Fun Facts and Spiritual Truth for Every Day of the Year (Standard Publishing), by Betsy Schmitt and David Veerman.

From cover to cover and from page 1 to the end, this book is crammed with color, fun, Scripture, devotional thoughts, and activity ideas–for every day of the year! Take a look inside the book … you’ll see what I mean.

Yesterday was National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. How would you describe the flavor “chocolate” to a friend? It might be best to tell him to just try some and find out for himself how good it is. Sort of like King David wrote in Psalm 34:81. “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh the joys of those who trust in him!”

Tomorrow is Senior Citizens Day. It’s not always easy to decide when a person becomes a senior citizen! But all older people deserve respect because they’re people, because of the Golden Rule, because they can teach us a lot, and because God’s word says we should. “Show your fear of God by standing up in the presence of elderly people and showing respect for the aged. I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:32).

And did you know that a man named Charles Graham received the first patent for false teeth on June 9, 1822?

Then there’s Charles Dickens Day (February 7), the day of the signing of the Magna Carta (June 17), World Farm Animals Day (October 2), and National World Kindness Day (November 13) . . . and lots more!

This book is a little bit like a famous potato chip . . . bet you can’t read just one day!


Visit Diane at www.abibleplace.com
© 2012, Diane Stortz



Memory Makers: Playground Journal

With Summer vacation just a mere week away for my kindergartner, I have found myself compiling an ever growing list of fun activities for my girls and I to do together. Last summer one of our favorites was spending the afternoon  picnicking at different parks and playgrounds around town.  We are fortunate to live in a community filled with lots of great playgrounds and the girls loved exploring all our different options.  We drove, biked and walked all around town, but problems arose when trying to return to some of our favorites.  “We want to go to the one with the tire swing and sandbox Mom, you know that one!”, my then five year old tried to explain.  Reading the minds of children is never easy and the trouble was, I couldn’t always remember the one playground she was referring to, or where it was located!

This summer we have created the perfect solution – The Summer Playground Tour book!  A plain binder was decorated and filled with blank pages ready to be drawn on.  Our plan is to keep the binder in the car along with some crayons and to have the girls draw a picture of every different playground we visit.  We will also write what things the playground has (don’t want to forget that this is the place with awesome monkey bars), where it is located, and our nickname for the place.  This is a fun way for my almost first grader to practice her journaling and my three year old her coloring.  It also is a nice activity to add after they have been playing for awhile and need a little quiet time at the park.  Looking forward to making lots of great memories this summer starting with our playground tour!